Eiffel 101: How to Protect Steel Beams from Corrosion

Though there are many benefits to structural steel beam that makes it an ideal choice for foundations, when steel is exposed to elements such as oxygen, moisture and salt, they react with the steel and cause it to oxidize. This oxidation process is called corrosion. When steel corrodes, it weakens the integrity of the metal and can, over time, cause the foundation to fall apart. Luckily, there are many ways to prevent steel h-pile and wide flange beams from corrosion, including galvanization, organic coatings, powder coatings, and maintenance.

Design Steel Beams to Resist Corrosion

It’s possible to design steel foundations in a way that minimizes the formation of rust, and therefore reduces corrosion. For example, if there are too many gaps in a foundation’s design, it can allow moisture to reach the steel beams, increasing the rate of corrosion. Similarly, bolts tend to rust where welding does not, meaning that if steel beams are installed solely with bolts, the beams will corrode more quickly. By working with an engineer, steel beam foundations can be designed in such a way to minimize the potential for corrosion.

Galvanize Steel Beams to Resist Corrosion

Galvanization is the process by which a coat of zinc is applied to h-pile and wide flange beams in order to protect against rusting. Most commonly, galvanization is done through one of two processes: hot-dip galvanizing or electroplating technology.

Apply Organic Coatings to Steel Beams to Resist Corrosion

Organic coatings create a barrier between the environmental elements that cause corrosion, such as saltwater, and the steel. There are a wide range of materials that can be used for organic coatings.

Apply a Powder Coating to Steel Beams to Resist Corrosion

Powder coatings work in the same way that organic coatings do. However, as the name suggests, powder coating are made from powdered substances. The powder is applied electrostatically and is set under heat in order to adhere to the steel beam, thereby creating a barrier between the steel and corrosive elements.

Maintain Steel Beams to Resist Corrosion

Once steel beam is installed, one of the best ways to prevent the steel from rusting is to keep it well maintained. Regular maintenance will ensure that all protective coatings remain intact and in good condition, and that any signs of rusting can be caught early and mitigated.

Steel beams: wide flange, h-oile, and more

Common Sizes for Steel Beams

Steel beams are sold in a wide range of sizes. Some common sizes include:

  • W8: W8x18, W8x21, W8x24, W8x28, W8x31, W8x35, W8x40, W8x48, W8x58, W8x67

  • W10: W10x22, W10x26, W10x30, W10x33, W10x39, W10x45, W10x49, W10x54, W10x60, W10x68, W10x77, W10x88, W10x100, W10x112

  • W12: W12x26, W12x30, W12x35, W12x40, W12x45, W12x50, W12x53, W12x58 ,W12x65, W12x72, W12x79, W12x87, W12x96, W12x106, W26x120, W12x136, W12x152, W12x170, W12x190, W12x210, W12x230, W12x252

  • W14: W14x22, W14x26, W14x30, W14x34, W14x38, W14x43, W14x48, W14x53, W14x61, W14x68, W14x74, W14x82, W14x90, W14x99, W14x109, W14x120, W14x132, W14x145, W14x159, W14x176, W14x193, W14x211, W14x233, W14x257, W14x283

  • W16: W16x26, W16x31, W16x36, W16x40, W16x45, W16x50, W16x57, W16x67, W16x77, W16x89, W16x100

  • W18: W18x35, W18x40, W18x46, W18x50, W18x55, W18x60, W18x65, W18x71, W18x76, W18x86, W18x97, W18x106, W18x119, W18x130, W18x143, W18x158, W18x175, W18x192, W18x211, W18x234

  • W21: W21x44, W21x50, W21x57, W21x58, W21x55, W21x62, W21x68, W21x73, W21x83, W21x93, W21x101, W21x111, W21x122, W21x132, W21x147, W21x166, W21x182, W21x201, W21x223, W21x248, W21x275

  • W24: W24x55, W24x62, W24x68, W24x76, W24x84, W24x94, W24x103, W24x204, W24x117, W24x131, W24x146, W24x162, W24x176, W24x192, W24x207, W24x229

  • W27: W27x84, W27x94, W27x102, W27x114, W27x129, W27x146, W27x161, W27x178, W27x194

  • W30: W30x90, W30x99, W30x108, W30x116, W30x124, W30x132, W30x148

  • W33: W33x118, W33x130, W33x141, W33x152, W33x169

  • W36: W36x135, W36x150, W36x160, W36x170, W36x182, W36x194, W36x210, W36x232, W36x256

  • HP8: HP8x36

  • HP10: HP10x42, HP10x57

  • HP12: HP12x53, HP12x63, HP12x74, HP12x84, HP12x89, HP12x102, HP12x117

  • HP14: HP14x73, HP14x89, HP14x102, HP14x117

  • HP16: HP16x88, HP16x101, HP16x121, HP16x141, HP16x162, HP16x183



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